There’s no definite way of preventing osteoarthritis.
However, there's much that one can do to lessen the severity of the condition. Maintaining a healthy weight means that there's less pressure on weight-bearing joint, such as the hips and the knees. The added pressure on the joints of an obese person contributes to the breakdown in the cartilage.
Physical activity keeps joints healthy and strengthens the muscles that support your joints. And watch your blood glucose levels, as the development of diabetes can increase your OA risk.
Injured joints are much more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Do whatever you can to prevent injuries and fractures, and always wear protective gear when taking part in sport where injuries are possible. Early identification of risk factors such as hypermobility is important.
Reviewed by Dr Stella Botha, rheumatologist at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town (MBChB, MRCP, PhD), November 2017.